The teacher training college in Kabul that is supported by WUR opened again this week. The National Agriculture Education College (NAEC), which trains agriculture teachers, is under a new Afghan management. The previous management was evacuated by the Netherlands.
The two-year teacher training programme has not admitted any new students this year, following the takeover of the country by the Taliban and in view of a lack of clarity about whether the school could reopen. The students who started on the programme last year are now trickling back to the college, says Hans van Otterloo, NAEC project manager on WUR’s behalf.
The teacher training college currently has 35 teachers, more than enough to teach its current 150 students. They include two women teachers; the other four women teachers were evacuated to the Netherlands this summer. The two who have remained have little to do because the teaching of women has not been resumed. The Taliban have not forbidden women’s education but have said that it should first be reorganized so that women can be taught. It is not clear what that means, says Van Otterloo. He is considering setting up a distance education course for Afghan women.
The minister of Education in the Taliban government has expressed a wish for NAEC to continue its work. But the Taliban is not a homogeneous movement, so it is hard to say at present whether the Taliban are for or against women’s education, says Van Otterloo. There are some hopeful signs, though. In the province of Balkh in the north of Afghanistan, all the schools have reopened for both boys and girls, Tolo News reported last week.